One arrested following chase in east Walker

By RICK WATSON and JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 2/9/19

A Dora police car was damaged in a chase through east Walker and west Jefferson counties on Thursday night that involved three local law enforcement agencies.The driver of the vehicle, Justin Wayne …

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One arrested following chase in east Walker

Posted

A Dora police car was damaged in a chase through east Walker and west Jefferson counties on Thursday night that involved three local law enforcement agencies.

The driver of the vehicle, Justin Wayne Rhodes, 22, of Dora, was taken into custody after fleeing into the woods near his home on Littleton Kilgore Road. 

Rhodes is now facing charges from the Walker County Sheriff's Office and Dora Police Department, though the exact charges have not been released.  

Court records show that Rhodes has a previous resisting arrest charge from 2018.

Rhodes was wanted on charges of domestic violence, according to the Walker County Sheriff's Office. Court records show that he was charged with third degree domestic violence/assault following an incident in July 2018.   

Thursday's chase began when Deputy Tony Reid and Reserve Deputy Zac Roberts were on routine patrol near the Frosty Mug in Sipsey, according to a Walker County Sheriff Department Facebook post.

Reid observed a Nissan Altima not using headlights after dark as it was traveling west on Highway 118. 

Reid called the license plate number into dispatch and learned that the plate was registered to a different vehicle. Reid then activated his blue lights, and the vehicle pulled to the side of the road.

Rhodes sped away as deputies approached the vehicle. Reid and Roberts pursued Rhodes toward Jasper on Highway 118 before the vehicle turned on Garner Road, eventually leading law enforcement back to the highway, this time heading east.

Deputy Jason Bridges was in the area and joined the chase.

When the Dora Police Department was alerted, three officers responded. 

“We had the eastbound lanes of the highway blocked,” Dora Police Chief Jared Hall said. "The suspect split the road and started heading east in the westbound lanes without his headlights turned on. Why is this guy going to extremes by turning his headlights off, going the wrong way, having a switched tag on the vehicle? We knew we had to get him off the roadway."

Officers from the Sumiton Police Department also assisted. 

After Rhodes crashed into a median near Sumiton, a passenger got out of the car and alerted Bridges that there were children in the vehicle. This information prompted deputies to back off to a safer distance to ensure the safety of the children in the vehicle, which by that time had sped away again, according to the Facebook post.

Rhodes collided with a Dora police car before turning onto Snowville-Brent Road and ultimately Littleton Kilgore Road, where he parked at his residence.

Rhodes fled into a wooded area, leaving two toddlers inside the vehicle. His wife and the mother of the children, who was at the residence, came outside and retrieved the children. 

Jefferson County deputies utilized the department’s helicopter to try to locate Rhodes.

The Alabama Department of Corrections K9 Search Team was then dispatched from Donaldson Prison with bloodhounds that located Rhodes.

Rhodes was booked into the Walker County Jail.

Thursday's chase was the first since Sheriff Nick Smith implemented a policy for chases at the department.  No policy was in place prior to last month, according to Smith.

Smith said the policy states that deputies are allowed to engage in low-speed pursuits for minor traffic violations but can only engage in high-speed chases on suspects who are wanted on felonies or violent misdemeanors. 

Smith said Reid was in direct contact with him throughout the chase.